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The Story Of Naxos: The extraordinary story of the independent record label that changed classical recording for ever (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Nicolas Soames
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highly readable ... I enjoyed reading this densely packed, enlightening book -- Graham Silcock Classical Recordings Quarterly Nicolas Soames throws himself into telling the story of how the music loving Heymann, a tennis coach-turned businessman built his recording empire and took it to the world -- Colin Anderson Time Out endlessly informative book... which embraces everything everyone has wondered about this unique company. An educational read, with great stories Herald


In 1987, a budget classical record label was started in Hong Kong by Klaus Heymann, a German businessman who loved classical music. Swiftly, it gained a world wide reputation for reliable new digital recordings of the classics at a remarkably low price. Despite opposition from the classical record establishment, it grew at a remarkable pace, and soon expanded into opera, early music, contemporary music and specialist repertoire so that it became appreciated by specialist collectors as well as the general music lover. It is now the leading provider of classical music and as an innovator in digital delivery. At the heart of Naxos is one man: Klaus Heymann. The combination of his broad knowledge of classical music and his acute business acumen has enabled him to build the most varied classical music label in the world, but also the most effective distribution network to ensure that his recordings are available everywhere. This fascinating story explains how it happened, how a one-time tennis coach in Frankfurt became a classical recording mogul in Hong Kong and how, at the age of 75, he still holds the reins as firmly as ever.


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Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Nicolas Soames: The Story of Naxos. The Extraordinary Story of the Independent Record Label that Changed Classical Recording For Ever. London: Piatkus, 2012. 450 pages.

I have been listening to Naxos CDs since the early 90's, so when I heard about this book I eagerly ordered it in the hope of learning more about the background and the people behind these budget-priced pearls. To be honest, the book has not really fulfilled my expectations.

For one thing, the book, written by an insider (Soames is responsible for Naxos Audio-Books), reads like a book-sized advertisement for Naxos. I suppose that is inevitable in some sense, as Naxos is the subject of the book, but I would have appreciated a more thorough and critical approach to the whole area of budget classical recording. Soames does, in fact, mention a few negative facts, concentrating mainly on the business/commercial side, but he never really comments in any detail on the criticisms of the "Naxos sound" which were, at least in the early years, not without foundation.

The first part of the book is, in a way, a biography of Klaus Heymann (with Takako Nishizaki) and does contain some information I have not come across elsewhere. This part of the book is fairly well written and occasionally contains anecdotes, which are, in my opinion, the "spices" needed to freshen up a story like this.

But the second half of the book seems to get lost in long lists of names, often reading like a literary version of the Naxos Catalogue. Of course, there are some interesting moments, but on the whole, this reads like a list of Naxos achievements.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen A success story in the classical music business 24. November 2012
Von Jose Gorostiza - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Anyone who has any interest in classical music should buy this book. It has some interesting revelations about the way the music businnes is run nowdays. I'm surprised that after a few months in the market, 'The Story of Naxos' has only two reviews in Amazon!, one being from the maverick conductor known as Adriano, who gained recognition through the Naxos label, with a none to flattering reference to Klaus Heymann (Naxos owner and CEO)as Citizen Kane in his quest for power...and probably I should think,.. world domination.
No secret that major recording companies shot themselves in the foot through unimaginative repertoire, stupid mergers that robbed them of their personality and total dependence on bottomliners and marketeers who took over from artistic directors and independent producers. What Naxos as a budget label has done for classical music in the last 30 plus years is astonishing and the quality of their projects has improved dramatically. In the process, Heymann has discovered to the world a series of marvelous musicians (too many to mention here)that stood no chance whatsoever to record for the major companies, happy in their closed star system. For sure, as a record collector (and I have tons of Naxos and Marco Polo records) I'm not too interested in a great part of their catalogue and many recordings do not stand the test of time, but still are very valuable as a documentary of some fine and undeservedly forgotten music. What have we to gain by having all the 34 plus symphonies by Myaskovsky?, I think that hearing the two or three that really deserve some attention is just fine, and half the American Classics collection is of no consecuence in the vast canvas of musical thought. Maybe there's too much expense that could find better direction and Heymann is going to have to observe some strict controls in the future.
The author Nicolas Soames, well known for his musical essays and a close insider of Naxos, writes a book that mingles some interesting facts with overtly repetitious odes to Heymann, and at times, the self congratulatory tone of their 'success story' is just to much to bear.
Heymann's contention that there is probably only a million classical music collectors all over the world that buy an average of 10 CD's a year is a sad assesment of today's downturn in culture and education if compared to the 60 million or more that buy just one pop hit record in the same time frame, do the math. Also, the idea that every single piece of music ever written can be recorded is absurd and clearly impossible, just check the IMSLP Petrucci library. Finally, for such a big recording company, their system of finding 'projects' and artists seems quite provincial (recommendations by friends). I can think of quite a few real masterpieces of composers that have for years eluded their radar. Have they even heard of Bruno Maderna, Jacques Casterede, Marius Constant, Serge Nigg? and that's just one italian and three frenchmen.
Stay tuned, Naxos seems here to stay for some time before their own swan song hits the waves.
5.0 von 5 Sternen The story of Naxos 18. September 2012
Von Terry Tee - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This is a most interesting book, especially for those interested in recorded classical music. Apart from that, I never realised that Naxos also produced recordings of the spoken word such as classical drama. The book is reasonably priced for a hard-bound volume of 400 or so pages.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting 29. September 2012
Von adriano - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
A well-written and interesting book, mainly for insiders. Klaus Heymann's search of power and the building-up of his media empire show parallels with the story of Citizen Kane.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Making the most of it. 26. November 2012
Von N. C. Jones - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I suppose this is the Nicolas Soames who impressed me thirty years ago
by selling the same article on Barry Tuckwell twice to different magazines.
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